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College is the first real adventure away from home for many students. It is the perfect opportunity to live, learn, grow, broaden your scope of life, widen your curiosity, and explore the world. While pursuing your dream career, you must have dreamed of renting your own place and starting a life away from the home nest.
As exciting as college and renting your place sounds, your parents will no longer be available 24/7 to watch over you. All significant decisions, including personal safety and security, fall into your hands. Sure, the school administration and the new landlords will set security measures, but personal safety is another burden you'll have to bear with.
In this article, we'll share some of the most valuable safety tips for college students and renters to help you get started on your new path.
One of the biggest threats to your safety is the people close to you, particularly those you live and hang around with. You can never be too careful when it comes to choosing your roommate.
Before you move in with anyone, do a thorough background check on them. Ask your parents and ‘soon to be' neighbors to help you. Have an interview with the person and try to find out as much as possible about who they are and if they may threaten your safety. Moving in with an old friend or just a stranger should be treated the same way.
Here are some things you should find out:
Do they drink too much? Do they have a history of drug abuse or smoke excessively?
Do they stay out late and go to a lot of parties?
Should you be expecting their guests? How often?
Any personal traits of interest, e.g., anger management issues?
Would they be willing to sign a roommate agreement?
Do they belong to any fraternities, cults, or groups you should know about?
Other than your soon-to-be roommates, always be careful with other friends too. Stay safe by choosing friends who're as concerned about their safety as you are about yours.
Whether you're still in college or just out of school, it doesn't hurt to share your schedule with people close to you. Let your parents, siblings, or friends know when your classes start or end, when you usually leave your job, which routes you take, what transport you use, what people you often hang around with, and so on.
If anything goes wrong, the information handed out to your loved ones can help save your life.
However, be careful with who you inform about your daily movements and activities. Only trusted people should have access to that information.
Everyone spends quite some time on social media, but we all forget how dangerous the internet can be. One of the easiest ways for someone to get personal info about you is through your social media profiles.
Adhering strictly to social media best practices can save your life. Start by protecting personal information such as passwords, PINs, your social security number, or other sensitive elements that can be used to steal your identity on social media.
You also want to screen the pictures you post on social media. Look for anything that can expose your identity, for instance, photos with your license plate showing in the background, room/door number, apartment/building number, and so on.
Also, restrain from posting the locations you frequently visit. Such information can present a threat to your safety in the wrong hands.
Traveling and commuting present a personal safety risk, especially when doing it alone. Here are a few things to remember the next time you go out:
Never travel alone with someone you just met.
Don't drink and drive. Drunk driving causes over 10,000 deaths annually, about 1/3 of all traffic-related deaths. In a recent year, more than 230 children were killed in drunk-driving crashes, according to an NHTSA report.
Use public transport or school shuttle service.
Always walk with friends in a group. Most college students and fresh graduates walk from and to their apartments. Find trustworthy friends or colleagues and walk with them if you're not driving.
Never walk alone at night.
One of the most common safety tips for living alone in an apartment suggests that it's always a good practice to lock your doors for home safety and security. Going to school, work, or just stepping out for a minute, lock your doors. Leaving your doors open or partly closed makes it extra easy for burglars to break in to steal or attack you.
With the help of your parents, you can also install contact sensors in your apartment and strategic places like your door or cupboards. The sensors immediately set ON the alarm when someone breaks in.
You may also install affordable security cameras inside your apartment and control them via your smartphone. Lastly, go out on a hunt for the best safe for apartment living to lock your valuables and protect them from theft.
Theft isn't the only reason why you shouldn't step foot in college without insurance. Fires are also a huge concern on college campuses. For your safety, you need to plan ahead for insurance.
If your parents have the homeowner's insurance policy, then off-premises coverage is included. That covers your property as a student in college. However, you should check with the insurance agents to see if there are any limits to the coverage.
If the homeowner's policy doesn't cut it, you can consider a renters policy.
Your parent's homeowners insurance policy will not extend to your off-campus house. Thus, one of the most valuable safety tips for apartment residents is considering a renters insurance policy. It typically covers fires, theft, water damage, vandalism, etc.
What then happens when you actually get into an accident or an emergency? In 2020, an estimated 156,300 preventable injury-related deaths occurred in homes.
Safety alert systems are crucial for timely intervention in cases of such accidents and emergencies. Every college student or fresh graduate needs at least one.
Fortunately, modern technology has led to the rise of safety alert devices that you don't have to remember to carry around. You can simply install a safety alert app like AllsWell Alert on your phone.
AllsWell Alert is a personal safety & emergency alert app for people living, commuting, or traveling alone. It combines the panic button functionality with inactivity monitoring, enabling the app to send your emergency contact an alert with your location even when you cannot press a button.
The AllsWell Alert app is the perfect fit for students and fresh graduates living alone or having health conditions that require constant care.
We hope that these apartment tips for college students and renters will help you start a new journey of living off on your own. Safety isn't negotiable, and to be honest, you can't be too careful these days. Never stop yourself from living to your fullest potential but understand that your safety and health matter first.